These days, when you arrive early for a movie, you get to watch an ad-supported video that previews what's ahead in the world of music, television and video games. Now, if Virgin founder Richard Branson has his way, while waiting for the lights to go down in the theater, you might find yourself in the midst of a video game battle with your fellow theater-goers played out on your phone
. This weekend, Branson is rumored to be testing out this ad-supported game which would be downloaded onto a smartphone as an app. Studio and advertising executives are supposed to be in attendance at a pair of demos with one in L.A. today and one in New York on Sunday. The test on Sunday is supposedly bringing in 18 VIPs including ones from Coca-Cola and Sony, who will enjoy a catered breakfast. Must be nice.
Branson launched Virgin Gaming in 2010 to host tournament style gaming
where players around the world could compete for prizes. We're not sure if this new app would tie in with that, but if movie patrons have a chance to win huge sums of cash, we could see more people going to the theater. Branson's U.S. spokesman denied that any such testing was going on, but we think he just was upset at not being invited to the breakfast.
The game would allow up to 50 people to play at one time. We could see this being limited to weekend or evening showings. Even so, when you consider the number of possible games that could be played in the course of one weekend in the U.S. alone, this idea could generate millions of dollars of ad dollars for Virgin.